I think Professor Lessig has a thoughtful approach to disclosure, and I am inclined to attempt one myself.
How I make money
The overwhelming amount of my income comes from my employment as a law professor. I am occasionally compensated to give lectures or attend conferences. I have rarely been compensated for publishing work elsewhere, and for law-related consulting.
This blog contains no advertising, sponsored content, or affiliate links. It generates no revenue.
I have no clients and serve on no boards of directors, commercial or noncommercial.
Conflicts of interest
In the event that I am compensated to advise about, consult about, or write about a particular policy, I shall generally avoid promoting that policy, here or in my academic work. To the extent I cannot avoid it, or choose not to avoid it, I shall disclose the conflict.
I recognize, as Professor Lessig has written, that "disclosure" can often be inadequate. "Corruption" can still come about even if one discloses the source of income, and the compensation can influence one's position such that disclosure is not enough. At the same time, in my youth, I am not yet inclined to create such a hard-and-fast rule as to prevent any instance in which I am compensated to preclude me from promoting it. Perhaps, in time, I shall find that my policy of "generally" avoiding such promotion should shift from an "ought" to an "is." But until then, a preferred policy remains in place.
A reason to avoid revenue-generating material on this site is so that the content is about ideas. There is a risk that revenue-generating sites are modeled on generating traffic, creating attractive headlines or stories, high volumes of content, low quality content that is profitable, or other non-quality-based measures of content. While a site that generates revenue is not always designed to do so, I believe that the pressures are too great and generally incline toward "corruption." Accordingly, I do not even consider disclosure adequate in these circumstances, and I have avoided sponsored content on this blog.
Compensation and corruption, in this way, are about money. There are many non-monetary influences on what I think, what I write, and what I say. But I accept that there are many things that influence all of us, and I am content with allowing those influences to exist without feeling compelled to systematic disclosure.
Drafted December 4, 2013